The Italian <i>passato prossimo</i> explained – part 1

The Italian passato prossimo explained – part 1

The Italian “passato prossimo” is probably one of the most feared topics. Luckily, it’s actually pretty easy to understand.

I know you’ve always felt like it was impossible to remember, but the “passato prossimo” is a pretty logic thing. So, with a few tricks, you will be able to remember this tense and use it super easily.


This is only the first of a video series all about the “passato prossimo”.


You’re going to see what it is made of, how to make it, and a simple trick to use it properly.


To form the “passato prossimo”,  we need two elements:


  • the auxiliary verb: essere or avere
  • the past participle


In these examples, you can easily see where is the auxiliary verb and where is the past participle:


Ieri io e Andrea abbiamo mangiato la pizza. (Andrea and I had a pizza yesterday.)

abbiamo > auxiliary verb

mangiato > past participle of mangiare


L’anno scorso sono andata in Francia. (Last year, I went to France.)

sono > auxiliary verb

andata > past participle of andare


As you can see, the auxiliary verb changes according to the subject:

io e Andrea = noi > abbiamo

io > sono


Then, to form the past participle we need to keep this rule in mind:


We make the past participle of the verbs of the first group by changing -are with -ato

mangiare > mangiato

studiare > studiato

giocare > giocato


We make the past participle of the verbs of the second group by changing -ere with -uto

vendere > venduto

avere > avuto

potere > potuto


We make the past participle of the verbs of the third group by changing -ire with -ito

finire > finito

dormire > dormito

sentire > sentito



part 1



Here are some examples of a few sentences in the “passato prossimo”.


Primo gruppo

Ieri ho mangiato una pizza. (I had a pizza yesterday.)

La settimana scorsa io e Giorgio abbiamo studiato. (Last week, Giorgio and I studied.)

Martedì Luisa e Giulia hanno giocato a calcio. (Luisa and Giulia played football on Tuesday.)


Secondo gruppo

Due mesi fa ho venduto la macchina. (I sold my car two months ago.)

Non abbiamo avuto tempo. (We didn’t have time.)

Alice ha potuto parlare con Pietro solo due minuti. (Alice was able to talk to Pietro only for two minutes.)


Terzo gruppo

Abbiamo finito adesso di lavorare. (We’ve just finished working.)

Ho dormito proprio male. (I slept really badly.)

Hai sentito le ultime notizie? (Have you heard the last news?)




Here you have a quiz.

Find the right answer to complete the sentences. 🙂



PS: if you already know a bit of Italian and want to practice more, you can download my course Unlock your Italian entirely for FREE. Click on the button below to access the course.




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Gloria Spagnoli
Gloria Spagnoli
I help beginners of Italian take their first steps, speak from day one and learn Italian at their pace and by having fun.